Game One Hundred Forty: Cubs (71-68) vs. Pirates (61-79)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Rich Hill (8-7, 3.84/1.20) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (13-7, 3.57/1.31)
The Cubs start an 11-game, 10-day road trip tonight in Pittsburgh against those always dangerous Pirates. The Bucs have been a thorn in the side of the Cubs for years and always seem to play their best ball of the season when they face the Cubs. The last place Pirates should not be taken for granted and these next 3 games are obviously, very big. While the Cubs have played well this season against the Brewers and Cardinals, they always seem to have a let down against the likes of the Pirates, Reds and Astros and that must change if Lou Piniella’s crew wants to play ball on the North Side in October….of the Cubs 23 remaining games, 15 are against those three teams.
Piniella stated after Thursday’s loss that his crew has to get hot one more time in the regular season and tonight would be a good time to start to warm up a little and give Rich Hill some much overdue run support. Rich Hill must rebound tonight from his last start against the Astros and put a win on the board for his team. After a very good August (2-1 with a 3.99 ERA), Hill struggled against Houston and gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings but Derrek Lee’s home run kept Hill from taking the loss. Hill struggled with his command from the beginning and walked 4 (tied a season-high, the most since August 11) while striking out 5. Hill threw 108 pitches and never looked comfortable on the mound.
Hill will face the pesky Pirates for the second time this season. He received a no decision back on April 30th at PNC. Hill gave up 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk. Tonight will be Hill’s 4th career start against the Pirates, in his first 3 he is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
The Pirates will send their All-Star left-hander to the hill tonight. Tom Gorzelanny is one of the best young lefties in the league and he dominates the Cubs. After a rocky July, Gorzelanny was 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 5 games in August but received a no decision his last time out against the Brewers. Gorzelanny gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 6 hits in 4 innings (his second shortest outing of the season).
The Cubs will get another shot at Tom Gorzelanny tonight. The Pirates’ southpaw has dominated the Cubs in his two other starts and this could be a very long night for the offense. The Cubs simply do not hit this pitcher….the stats are just amazing. Jason Marquis beat Gorzelanny on May 9th thanks to a solo home run by Alfonso Soriano. While Marquis threw a complete game shutout, Gorzelanny gave up only 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings. In two career games against the Cubs, Gorzelanny is 1-1 with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP while holding the Cubs to a .160 batting average (1 run, on 8 hits in 15 innings with 4 walks and 12 strikeouts).
These are games the Cubs must win and these are the type of games the Cubs have struggled in all season. Hopefully they figure out Mr. Gorzelanny tonight.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….